John 13:6-10
John 13:6 (KJB)
Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
Here Peter interrupts the Lord’s ministry to them by asking a question. Peter may have thought that the roles should be reversed. During the ministry of Jesus we have many cases of “Peter answered and said” when no one asked him a question. Peter must have been a very dynamic and outspoken individual. Peter was confused as to why Jesus was performing this task which was reserved for a slave and here the Son of God was doing that sort of work.
John 13:7 (KJB)
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
At this point, much of what Jesus was doing was a mystery to the disciples. Peter no doubt had understood the earthly concept that the inferior serve the superior. Jesus is teaching that the greatest among them shall be the servant.
(Luke 22:24-27 KJV) And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. {25} And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. {26} But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. {27} For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
The disciples had previously argued about who was the greatest among them and Jesus had taught that the one who would be chief should serve. In Heaven’s order of importance, the roles are reversed. The one who serves is the greatest and the one being served is not the greatest. Jesus was greater than both Solomon and Jonah and yet He did not hesitate to wash the feet of the disciples as a servant would do in a household. Jesus was telling Peter that he will not understand now what is taking place but he will definitely know at a later time.
John 13:8 (KJB)
Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
Once again Peter determines to make his feelings known. He could not allow Jesus to wash his feet because that was not the job Jesus was supposed to be doing. Peter stated that Jesus was the Son of God, the Christ. (Mat 16:16-17 KJV) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. {17} And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Now he sees Jesus doing the work of a lowly servant and Peter’s motives for not wanting Jesus to wash his feet may have been clear to him, but Jesus was about to teach them something very important and if He does not wash Peter’s feet, then Peter will be left out. Jesus was using an earthly illustration to teach a major spiritual principle. Sometimes we all act like Peter and when God is about ready to teach us something, we may tend to do something to interfere and then instead of learning the easy way, we are destined to learn the hard way. Jesus is showing an illustration of salvation that He is the one who washes us clean from sin. (Titus 3:5 KJV) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; If Jesus does not wash Peter from all his sin, then he can have no part in the kingdom of God because the kingdom of God is made up of only those who are truly saved.
John 13:9 (KJB)
Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
Peter really loved the Lord and since Jesus told him that if he does not let Him wash his feet, then he would have no part in Him, it caused Peter concern. Peter then tries to cover all bases and wanted his hands and head washed too so he could benefit from what Jesus was doing. He goes from “don’t wash” to head, hands, and feet. Peter wanted to make sure that he had a part in Jesus but as Jesus said, he would not understand now but after Pentecost they would have understanding.
John 13:10 (KJB)
Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
Those who have been truly born again need not be saved over and over again. Salvation is a one time event but as we walk through this world, our feet need to be continually washed because of the sin we encounter. (Psa 119:101 KJV) I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. We are to continually watch where we walk and to watch the way that we walk. That is why we need continual cleansing from the wickedness of this world so we do not get snared into it. Jesus is declaring that He knows that all the disciples are clean except one. He was speaking of Judas who betrayed Him and never became saved. It is interesting that Jesus washed even the feet of the one who betrayed Him. It teaches us that Christians can even be the servants of those who hate us.